|Copying the mentality of a living biont without causing any harm to them|
True reliable non-destructive uploading did not become available until the First Federation period, when symaiotic nanite probes were developed which could integrate with the neurons and synapses of the living brain without damaging them in any way.
During non-destructive uploading approximately 1012 nanites are integrated with the neurons of the subject, and the information state of each neuron is communicated to an external database, where further copies can be made of that mindstate if required. The more rapidly this information can be transferred, the more accurate the uploading is considered to be. Modern non-destructive uploading can extract the equivalent of an instantaneous mind state while the subject is fully conscious. The copied mentality (known as an upload or copy) may be activated within a virtual reality environment, becoming a fully virtual sophont.
The symaiote nanites used in this process can be deactivated and subsumed after the process is complete. However many citizens of the Sephirotic Empires retain their symaiotic nanites for life, and use them to transmit a copy of their mentality on a regular basis, which copy is often stored inactive on a database as a backup.